Selling Power Magazine Article

Value-Added Selling Is Smart Selling
Thomas P. Reilly
The more salespeople I train in selling value instead of price, the more myths I uncover about value-added selling. As we dispel these myths, it becomes easier for salespeople to focus on how to sell value. See if any of these myths apply to you.

Myth #1: "Value-added" applies only to a product.

Wrong! Only in the strictest academic or Department of Commerce definitions is value-added defined so narrowly. The additional value may be product related, vendor related (in the form of the company), or salesperson related. The way in which a company delivers, services, and supports is at least equal to the benefits the product represents. The way in which a salesperson supports, follows up, and presents is equally valuable to the customer. For those product-minded-only individuals, you're not selling with maximum impact unless you consider all three things the customer buys.

Myth #2: "Value-added" is restricted to product managers.

Wrong! The salesperson's input is as critical if not more so than the product manager's, especially when the salesperson knows the customer's needs well. Who better to determine added value than the person closest to the buyer?

Myth #3: "Value-added" applies only to sophisticated and complex products.

Wrong! Even the manufacturers of commodities have ways to deliver greater value to customers. Typically, they map their "commodity" products in a blanket of valued extras to "decommoditize" them. The reason they're successful at this is because they focus on nonproduct, as well as product, issues.

Myth #4: If everyone does it, it ain't valuable!

Again, wrong. Never overestimate the brilliance of your competition, and never underestimate the importance of your benefits. Based on my training tens of thousands of salespeople, I can tell you that at least half of the sales population cannot recite the value-added extras they offer. Of the remaining half, only a small number tell their value-added story well. Give yourself the advantage in selling.

Myth #5: All customers are value-added targets!

Wrong, again! All customers are equal. It's just that "some are more equal than others." The top one-third of your customer and prospect base will represent 85 percent of your profitable revenue. All customers deserve the value-oriented philosophy, but only the top one-third deserve the intensity of the value-added sales approach.

Myth #6: "Value-added" relates only to combating price objections!

One more time, wrong! Value-added selling is a good offensive tactic to thwart any competitive effort. When you promise a lot and deliver even more, customers are reluctant to spoil their relationship with you by ordering from the competition. Another advantage of value-added selling is that you feel especially good about the job you perform. You've gone the extra mile. You're proud of it. And you should be.

Myth #7: Value-added selling is a lot of work!

Partially wrong! It does require effort, but ask yourself, which requires more effort, keeping an existing customer happy or finding a new one? It costs six times more money to land a new customer. How much more time and effort does it require?

Selling value is fun. It's a profitable and strategically sound business philosophy. If you're not selling value, you're not selling smart!
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